Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah


“You go, guy!”  is my current preferred translation for the name of this week’s parasha, Lech L’cha.  “Lech” from the root meaning “to go” and “l’cha,” which means “to yourself” or “for yourself” combines a bit awkwardly in English, but this common contemporary idiom (usually stated in the feminine- “You go, girl!”) seems to be a good fit.  The words are spoken by God to Abram (later renamed Abraham), indicating that God is sending Abram on a great adventure, spiritual and physical, to leave home for an unknown land and to found a great nation based on a new idea:  Monotheism, belief in one God.  In the same way that “You go, girl!” is both a command and a phrase of encouragement, God’s “Lech l’cha” to Abram is stated with authority, promise, love and conviction that Abram is the right person for this special mission.  Because Abram accepted this challenge, we all are Jews to this day.

We’ve just rewound the Torah to Genesis, and look how quickly we are moving!  We’ve already moved past the days of Creation, Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel. Now onto the Flood story and the Tower of Babel. At the beginning of this week’s  parasha (Torah portion), we learn something of the character of Noah.  We are told: “Noach ish tzaddik. Tamim haya b’dorotav.” (Gen 6:9) This is often translated as “Noah was a righteous man. In his generation, he was wholehearted.” But the word tamim, translated here as “wholehearted” can also mean innocent, pure, unblemished, and simple, as in the Passover Haggadah’s  “simple son.” At Friday night services this week, I will expound upon this theme, considering what the Torah may have been telling us about why God chose Noah and what this may imply for us in our time.

This week, both on Simchat Torah (tonight and tomorrow) and this Shabbat, we read from Bereishit, the first parasha of the Torah. Last Shabbat, at our first bi-monthly Torah Study class, we started with the very first word.  Everyone in the class was able to recite the translation of this word (also Bereishit) in English:   “In the beginning.”  But, surprisingly, we noted in the various Bibles and Torah commentaries we had before us, there are other translations:  “When God began (to create)….” “When God was about to (create)…”   What we had all learned was in fact just one interpretation of what “Bereishit” means.  Even translations are interpretations.  We had such a good time discussing the word “Bereishit” and its impact on the rest of the verse, that we will still be on Gen. 1:1, when the class meets again on Oct 21.  If this intrigues you, join us!  In the meantime, we will read from the end of Deuteronomy and the first days of Creation tonight and tomorrow morning on Simchat Torah.  Chag Samei’ach!

May FOOD OF THE MONTH: canned or dried beans

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This Week at BHT

21 Jun 2018
Visibility Event
21 Jun 2018
06:45PM -
LC Meeting
22 Jun 2018
05:45PM -
Kabbalat Shabbat
26 Jun 2018
04:00PM -
Shalom Center Soup Kitchen
27 Jun 2018
07:00PM -
Food for Thought Class
29 Jun 2018
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Kabbalat Shabbat
01 Jul 2018
MCC Pledges Due New Year